OWOSSO — There’s still time to become Owosso royalty.
The deadline for applying to run for Glow Queen — a contest in which female candidates raise money and awareness for their favorite local charities or service groups — has been extended to Oct. 23.
Anyone who’s 21 or older and a Shiawassee County resident can be Her Majesty. Contest perks for the winner include a crown, sash, flowers, bragging rights, riding as the grand marshal in the Glow Parade and helping Santa light the city’s Christmas tree.
Not to mention having a great time.
“It’s a lot of fun, first and foremost,” said Corky Adams, chairwoman of the Glow Queen committee. “It’s a lot of hard work, too, but it brings awareness and money to your organization.”
The contest, which started in 2015, was suspended last year when no one tossed her hat into the ring. The committee has made a couple of changes they hope will inspire potential Glow Queen candidates to run.
For one thing, the title has been changed from Ice Queen to Glow Queen, to eliminate any possible connotation that the queen might be possess an icy personality.
For another, the length of the campaign has been shortened, from six weeks to just shy of a month this year, from Oct. 25 through Nov. 23. The kickoff takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Abiding in the Vine, Adam’s restaurant, located at 115 E. Main St. in Owosso.
“Six weeks is a long time,” Adams said. “I think this may help.”
The crowning of the Glow Queen, previously held in Curwood Castle, will take place Nov. 23 at the more spacious D’Mar Banquet and Conference Center in Owosso Township.
The queen will be the highlight of the Glow Parade, set for Nov. 28, and will help Santa light the city Christmas tree at Main Street Plaza.
Queen candidates, assisted by their campaign managers, collect donations from individuals, businesses and at fundraising events. Contestants often bond with their supporters as they dream up money-raising schemes.
But it’s not all about the money. It’s not even all about winning. It’s about doing what you can for the charity you’re representing.
Just ask Adams, who ran for Ice Queen in 2017. She raised more than $16,000, but missed out on the crown by a mere 28 cents. Still, she said, the funds she raised helped her charity, the Healing Nest in Corunna, which provides comfort and assistance to female cancer patients. That meant a lot to Adams, who had completed cancer treatment herself just before she ran.
“It can be an intense campaign, but it doesn’t have to be,” Adams said. “Whatever amount of money the charity receives is more than they had before the contest.”
Queen contestants give 90 percent of the funds they’ve raised to their charity; the other 10 percent goes to Glow Owosso, a committee under Owosso Main Street.
“That money helps the Glow committee, and they make Owosso look like Christmas,” said Owosso Mayor Pro Tem Sue Osika, who reigned as the Ice Queen in 2016.
Osika ran on behalf of the busy Downtown Owosso Farmers Market, where she finds herself most Saturday mornings, meeting up with friends and shopping. With the $16,000-plus Osika raised, the market was able to purchase a new trailer.
“I ran because I wanted to tell the story of the Farmers Market,” she said. “I feel women are able to do a good job explaining the charity they’re running for, and it brings a lot of awareness.”
Several inquiries about the contest have been received, Adams said, but as of Friday morning no queen contestant had filed an application.
Queen applications can be picked up at Abiding in the Vine. For more information, call Adams at (989) 723-5746 or Osika at (989) 277-0201.